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The Rule of Law Through Lawlessness:
Vigilante Activity in 1860s Walla Walla County



Transcribed by Rob Spencer

Source: Walla Walla Statesman, April 7, 1865, page 3

Subject: An anti-vigilante response to a prospective vigilante.

Synopsis: A drunken man is attacked for claiming to belong to the Vigilance Committee. He is pressured into revealing who the other members of the committee are but is released the next day.

Anti-Vigilantes—The “anti-vigilantes” seem to have become quite as active recently as the Vigilantes. One night this week an individual who is in the habit of getting d. d. came into town, and , under the electrifying influence of “forty rod” proclaimed himself “king,” and talked valiantly of the doings of the vigilantes. A party of the “antis” concluded to have him “tell them something he didn’t know,” and accordingly took him into a room, tied a handkerchief around his neck, suspended him from the shoulders of one of the tallest of the members and asked him who the vigilantes were? The question was repeated several times and upon him as often exposing his ignorance by telling them that he “did not know,” they concluded that, as a punishment for such an inexcusable lack of information, they would place him in “durance vile” for the night. Accordingly, they locked him up in a privy where they left him to doze off the influence of the “forty rod,” to repent of his vain boasting, and to reflect upon the beauties of the “new code.”